The Cressy Courier: TIFF Updates, affordable housing improvements, and more

Dear friend -- 

It's hard to believe September is already here.  I hope you found some time to enjoy the bustling streets of our city over the summer.

Here in the Ward 20 office we're gearing up for a very busy session at City Hall with a number of key local and city-wide initiatives underway.

Over the next month we will be confirming the Madison Avenue Heritage Conservation District in the Annex, announcing plans for new community facilities in the Entertainment District, and asking City Council to endorse our call for increased tax incentives to support small independently owned businesses in Kensington Market.

Work is also underway this fall to break ground on the Grange Park redevelopment, install new bike lanes on Peter Street, and open a new Artscape Sandbox facility on Adelaide Street.

On a more somber note, for years we have witnessed the growing Syrian refugee crisis.  The photos and stories of tragic events over the last few days have indeed shook us all to our core.  The tragedy is simply hard to comprehend.  Our country and city has a history of opening our borders and homes as global citizens during times of crisis.  It is time for us to do so again.  

Lifeline Syria is a community initiative to sponsor and support 1000 Syrian families to resettle as permanent residents in the GTA over the next 2 years.  More information on Lifeline Syria and how to get involved is included below. This refugee crisis is not simply a Syrian issue or a European issue, it is a humanitarian issue that requires all of us to open up our homes and borders.  

All the best,

Joe

2015 Toronto International Film Festival Updates

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of our city's most important arts and cultural festivals, is just around the corner. This year, a portion of King Street will be closed for the first four days of the Festival: Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, September 13. This closure will support free pedestrian programming called "Festival Street" and ensure the safety of the large crowds who attend the opening days of TIFF.

I have worked closely with the TTCTransportation ServicesEconomic Development and Culture, and TIFF to discuss the details of the closure over the past several months. We have worked hard to ensure that an extensive communication and mitigation plan is put in place to inform residents of the closure and the re-routing of the 504 King streetcar, as well as to minimize the impact on residents, road, and transit users.

TTC Service Updates

The TTC has worked to create a diversion plan that addresses last year's congestion on the Queen Streetcar route and better supports transit riders along the King route. Please click here to view a map of all TTC service changes for September 10-13.

The 504 King streetcar will be divided into two separate services. Streetcars from the west will be turning north at Bathurst Street to Bathurst subway station returning to Dundas West station via south on Bathurst Street and west on King Street.

504 King streetcar service from the east will be turning back via a loop, travelling westbound on Wellington Street from Church Street to York Street, and eastbound only on King Street from York Street to Church Street.

504 King bus service will bridge the gap, operating on King Street between Parliament Street in the east and Dufferin Street in the west, with a diversion to Richmond Street (westbound) and Adelaide Street (eastbound) between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue.

Overnight, the 304 King night bus will divert to Queen Street from Spadina Avenue to Church Street eastbound, and from York Street to Spadina Avenue westbound.

The closure also requires changes to Wheel-Trans service in the area. Please click here for more information on the designated pick-up and drop-off points in the area during the closure. 

TIFF is distributing the TTC information materials to residents in Wards 20, 19, 18, and 14 who are most affected by the changes to transit service. There will also be extensive communication locally and across the King streetcar route to ensure maximum awareness of the closure and modified service.

Film Location Permits

As the Festival approaches there are several partial lane closures and traffic impacts that are important to be aware of as we plan to move around the neighbourhood during the Festival.

Most lane closures will only be temporary, for parking and equipment drop off. Where lanes of traffic will be occupied for any length of time during Red Carpet events, they will restrict closures to the curbside lanes of traffic. In cases where Zip Car spaces are impacted, the Zip Cars will be relocated nearby. Full lane closures will be supervised by police officers to ensure safety, as well as many officers facilitating the closure of King Street for Festival Street as detailed above.

Ensuring access to the Simcoe street bike lanes has been a priority for my office throughout the preparations for this year's Festival.  After working closely with the City's cycling department, the film office and TIFF, we can confirm that the Simcoe street bike lanes (Southbound and Northbound contraflow) will remain open throughout the Festival, with no activities happening consistently in the bike lanes as in previous years.  In the rare instance of temporary bike lane occupations (due to pick up and drop off activities), physically protected detours will be provided.  During the closure of King Street (from September 10-13), there will be signage asking cyclists to dismount in order to cross King Street at Simcoe (as there will be heavy pedestrian activity on King Street).  Otherwise, the bike lanes will be unobstructed.    

Here is a more detailed description of the impacts of temporary closures at each location:

All permit requests run from September 1st through September 21st.

Small Sites (4-5 vehicles):

Bloor Cinema – 506 Bloor St. W.

Bloor St. north curb lane: drop offs between Bathurst and Albany

Scotiabank Theatre – 259 Richmond St. W.

Richmond South Curb lane from John to Widmer St: for drop offs

Widmer from Richmond to Adelaide: for parking

Glenn Gould Studio – 250 Front St. W.

John St. East lane from Front to Wellington St: Parking for talent drop off and equipment loading as needed.

Front St. North lane from Simcoe to John St: Talent drop off and equipment loading as needed.  

Medium Sites (8 vehicles):

TIFF Bell Lightbox – 350 King St. W.

Pearl St. between John and Simcoe: Parking for limos and production vehicles.

King St W. North and South Curb Lanes between John and Duncan: Parking for production vehicles, lane closures during theatre use and full road closure during red carpet events only.

Duncan Street East and West curb Lanes between King and Adelaide: For talent arrivals prior to red carpet events. Zip Cars well be relocated to the west side of Duncan between Adelaide and Pearl St.  

Large Sites (10-15 vehicles):

Roy Thompson Hall - 60 Simcoe St.

Wellington St. W. North curb lane, between Emily and John St: Parking for deliveries, technical production vehicles and limos. Zip Cars will be relocated to north curb lane of wellington between Emily and Simcoe.

King St. W. north and south curb lanes between John and Simcoe: Parking as needed.

Simcoe between King and Wellington: To accommodate arrivals and exits as needed, only one lane will be occupied at a time. In instances where the contra flow bike lane will be temporarily impacted, a physically protected detour will be provided.

Princess of Wales – 300 King St. W.

Pearl St. between John and Simcoe: Parking and pick up for talent limos and production vehicles.

King St W. north and south curb lanes between John and Duncan St: to accommodate talent parking and drop off. Curb lanes will be fully barricaded while the theatre is in use. Temporary road closures may be implemented to ensure safety and crowd management under paid duty officer supervision during red carpet events.

Duncan St, east and west curb lanes between King and Adelaide St: For holding talent vehicles prior to red carpet events.

As we look ahead to future years, we will be working closely with City Staff, the TTC and TIFF to discuss the area of the street closure, and to review possible alternate options and configurations that minimize the impact on transit users and continue to support TIFF's success in our City.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office at any time if you have any questions.


Building New Affordable Housing - Block 36 North

I'm very excited that the Affordable Housing Committee has identified Block 36 North in the Railway Lands as a priority site for the City's Open Door policy, which seeks to speed up the process for building new affordable housing in our City.                                                                  

Block 36 North will be one of the last blocks of land to be developed in CityPlace.  Currently a part of the empty lot beside the Fort York Library, Block 36 is owned by TCHC and was allocated many years ago as a future site for new affordable housing in the City.  However, given TCHC's $2.7 billion dollar repair backlog and the lack of stable funding from the federal and provincial governments for affordable housing, it continues to sit vacant.  Over the past number of months, I have been working hard with the Affordable Housing office and TCHC to find ways to prioritize this project to ensure that we are adding affordable housing to address our City's severe housing crisis.

On September 2nd, the Affordable Housing Committee announced that Block 36 North will be prioritized in the City's Open Door policy, which seeks to speed up the process for building new housing across the City.  I will be working hard over the coming months with staff in City Planning, as well as the Affordable Housing office and TCHC, to continue to move this project forward.

As we continue to plan the new community centre and schools on Block 31 (beside Canoe Landing Park), work on designs for Mouth of the Creek Park (adjacent to Block 36 North), ensuring that Block 36 North contributes new affordable housing in our City is an essential component as we continue to build equitable and liveable communities.  Expanding green space, affordable housing and community facilities are my most important priorities and I am happy that we are working hard to do that in our CityPlace neighbourhood.


Affordable Housing Working Group



Investing in affordable housing is an important priority of mine, so this past week, I hosted the inaugural meeting of our Ward 20 Affordable Housing Working Group.  I brought together residents, City staff, and agency representatives for the Working Group, to find ways to help address the housing crisis in our City - more than 91,000 families are currently on our waiting list (and this number continues to grow), while TCHC faces a $2.7 billion repair back log.  In the absence of a partnership from our federal and provincial partners and other legislative tools, like inclusionary zoning, we need to find creative solutions to dramatically increase the amount of housing we are building.

This Working Group seeks to work collaboratively to identify opportunities and best practices in building new housing across our City and in Ward 20.  We will work throughout our communities with agencies and other partners to try and address our housing crsis, and to ensure that communities are built equitably. 

I look forward to sharing more updates in the coming months.


Toronto Ward Boundary Review

In 2014Toronto City Council launched an initiative to ensure effective representation within the ward structure of the city. This process involves extensive public consultation to find a way to address the current ward population imbalance. 

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review Options Report was recently released and it presents five options for restructuring ward boundaries across the city. 

Public meetings have been scheduled across the city to present the options and gather feedback. There will be a meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at Metro Hall (55 John Street; Room 308/309) from 7-9pmClick here for a complete list of public meetings across the city.

There are significiant changes proposed to the boundaries of ward 20 given our large and continually growing population. I am carefully reviewing each of the proposals and will be continuing to consult with all of our neighbourhoods throughout this process. I would encourage each of you to review the report, to attend the meetings, and submit your feedback online. 


Lifeline Syria



Lifeline Syria
 is a community engagement initiative which will recruit, train and assist sponsor groups to welcome and support 1,000 Syrian refugees coming to Canada as permanent residents to resettle in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) over the next two years.

Between 1979 and 1980, Canada successfully resettled 60,000 Vietnamese “boat people”. Canadians came together by the thousands under an initiative called Operation Lifeline to welcome these refugees and help them settle in their new homes across the country. Tens of thousands were resettled in the GTA in just 18 months. Lifeline Syria aims to mirror this successful initiative for the current refugee crisis.

As they have done in the past, Canadians can sponsor the resettlement of refugees who qualify to come to Canada, by providing financial and emotional support (usually for a year), helping them with housing, clothing, food and daily incidental costs. Lifeline Syria will help throughout the process.

For more information on how to help, please visit Lifeline Syria's website here

We can all do our part as Canadians to address this growing international humanitarian crisis.


Increasing Affordable Housing in Alexandra Park

I am thrilled that at this week's meeting, the Affordable Housing Committee formally endorsed our plan to increase affordable housing and affordable home ownership opportunities as a part of the Alexandra Park revitalization. 

The report is the result of months of work with our community-led working group, staff in the Affordable Housing office and City Planning, and TCHC.  The plan commits funding to affordable home ownership in the Alexandra Park community, sets out a plan to help expand the footprint of the Atkinson Housing Co-operative, and allocates funding for the creation of new units of affordable housing in Phase 2 of the Revitalization.  We are very excited that the hard work of our community over the past months will see these results, and look forward to seeking out additional opportunities as we continue on with the Revitalization process.


Toronto Recognizes Overdose Awareness Day

Each year on August 31st, service agencies working with people who use drugs hold memorial events remembering friends, loved ones, and community members who were lost to overdose. 

In recognition of the impact of overdose on Toronto communities, Mayor John Tory has proclaimed that August 31st will be International Overdose Awareness Day in Toronto. 

You can read the full proclamation here.

As Chair of the Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation Panel, I look forward to continuing our work to effectively reduce the harms of drug use.


Cycling Infrastructure Improvements 

The City of Toronto is extending the cycle tracks - separated bike lanes - that are currently in place along Richmond Street and Adelaide Street extending west from the vicinity of University Avenue. The new extension eastward from the University Avenue area is part of a pilot project to improve cycling infrastructure and enhance safety for all road users in the downtown core.

The new work will result in the extension of cycle tracks on Richmond Street, which is one-way westbound, from Parliament Street to York Street, and on Adelaide Street, which is one-way eastbound, from Simcoe Street to Parliament Street. Cycle tracks will then be in place on both Richmond and Adelaide between Parliament and Bathurst.

In addition, bicycle lanes will be installed on both sides of Peter Street, from King Street to Queen Street.

The installation of the cycle tracks is expected to be completed by the end of September, weather permitting. You can view a map of the changes here.

I look forward to continuing our work on improving cycling in Toronto.


23 Spadina Avenue Appealed to OMB

Earlier this year, I hosted a community consultation for the redevelopment proposal that has been submitted for 23 Spadina Avenue, which is currently the Concord-Adex presentation centre in CityPlace. The developer presented plans for a two-tower scheme at 77 and 66 storeys, sharing a podium with retail at street level. This is quite a bit more density than was assigned to this property during the initial master-planning for CityPlace. I heard clearly from residents at the meeting that the proposal raised concerns about lack of public space, possible negative impacts on the pedestrian experience, and increased congestion.

This application was recently appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by the developer, taking approval authority out of the hands of City Council. The case page on the OMB website will be updated when a hearing date is set. I will be directing our Planning staff and Legal staff to work through this process in support of our community's interests, and I will provide more updates as information becomes available.


Toronto Hydro Copeland Station

Over the past few months there have been some major improvements to our downtown electric grid; 45 feet down, deep under the historic Roundhouse Park, our city's newest transformer station is nearing completion. The subterranean Copeland Transformer station is the second of its kind in Canada and will alleviate the mounting strain on our power grid. Between 2006 and 2011 the population of downtown Toronto has increased by over 50%. Along with this population growth comes increased demand for electricity. 

If growth continues at this rate, by 2017 the existing Windsor station will not be able to meet the service demands of downtown residents and businesses on its own. Furthermore, with the additional power supply from the Copeland Station, work crews will be able to complete much needed repairs on the Windsor station without disrupting service.



I recently had the opportunity to tour the construction site and see firsthand how the Copeland Transformer station will benefit residents across the downtown core.


Dupont Station TTC Upgrades

You are invited to an Open House to learn more about progress for the Easier Access Program at Dupont Station. In order to make every TTC station accessible for everyone, Dupont Station will be undergoing significant upgrades, including: three elevators, accessible fare gates, improved signage and CCTV security cameras.

In order to ensure that the community is aware of the changes and the impacts of construction on the intersection and Spadina and Dupont, the TTC is hosting an open house on September 24th from 6:30 – 8:30pm at the Toronto Archives (255 Spadina Road).


Spadina Station TTC Upgrades

Structural rehabilitation at Spadina Station is continuing with Phase 2 work, which started on August 17.

Phase 2 involves concrete repairs, expansion joint repairs, waterproofing and bus roadway repaving.  In order to complete this work, northbound lanes on Spadina Road, north of Bloor, will be reduced and the station bus loop will be closed. Vehicular traffic will be shifted to the west side of the road, and 127 Davenport buses will head south towards Spadina Crescent to make its northbound trip. All station entrances and sidewalks will be maintained during Phase 2.

Please click here for further details and maps, or view the online construction advisory here: http://www.ttc.ca/Service_Advisories/Construction/SpadinaRd_north_Bloo.jsp

The majority of Phase 1, which consists of work on the west side of Spadina Road, north of Bloor, as well as the west station entrance, has been rescheduled to begin after Phase 2 is completed.

For more information, contact Diego Sinagoga, Community Liaison at the TTC - 416-393-2197 (diego.sinagoga@ttc.ca). 


Avenue Road Watermain Replacement

The City of Toronto will conducting necessary watermain replacement work on Avenue Road from September until December

This project is part of the Council-approved 2015 Capital Works Program that will improve water distribution and the City's aging infrastructure while reducing the risk of watermain breaks and improving water distribution to properties in larger diameter pipes.

You can view the Pre-Construction Notice here and important information on replacing lead water pipes here.


City of Toronto Labour Day Events

Monday, September 7th is Labour Day and I encourage everyone to take advantage of all the great activities on offer from the City to close out the summer!

Swimming

Splash pads will be open on Labour Day and will remain open daily until September 20. Parents and caregivers are reminded to supervise their children at all times. Weather permitting, all of Toronto's mainland beaches will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Toronto Islands beaches will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. All locations will have lifeguards on site during operating hours.

All indoor pools, outdoor pools and wading pools will be closed on Labour Day. Sunday, September 6 is the last day of summer operation for the City's outdoor pools and wading pools. Indoor pools will re-open on Tuesday, September 8. Residents can contact their local pool or visit http://www.toronto.ca/swim for hours.

Toronto Islands (ferry located at 9 Queens Quay W.)

The Islands, Toronto's largest downtown park, are a great place to walk, cycle, explore and view the city skyline. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/island.

Getting there by ferry is half the fun. Toronto's ferries can carry more than 4,000 passengers an hour to and from the islands. Arrive early to avoid long lineups or check peak hours/wait times online. You can buy Toronto Island Ferry tickets online in just a few easy steps by providing an email address, credit card and printer. Ferry information and tickets: http://www.toronto.ca/ferry

Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St.)

Featuring traditional farm animals, Riverdale Farm is the perfect place for animal lovers. Visitors can take a self-directed tour and can visit with the farmer at 11:30 a.m. at the lower Francey Barn. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and activities are free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/ or by calling 416-392-6794.

High Park Zoo (located on Deer Pen Road in the park)

The High Park Zoo has been entertaining people for more than a century. The zoo houses domestic and exotic animals such as bison, llamas, highland cattle and reindeer. New arrivals include a baby yak, reindeer and bison. The zoo is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk, with free admission. More information: http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/

Golf

All five City-run golf courses will be open, with holiday rates, on September 7. More information about hours and locations is available at http://www.toronto.ca/golf.

Toronto's parks and green spaces

All Toronto parks and green spaces will be open for all to enjoy on Labour Day.

Community centres and other recreation facilities

All other Parks, Forestry and Recreation facilities, including community centres, will be closed on Labour Day. Regular programs and services will resume Tuesday, September 8.

Labour Day at Toronto's Historic Sites

Two of the City's 10 historic sites – Fort York and Spadina Museum – will offer events, activities and tours on Labour Day, as described below. All of the City's historic sites will be open on Saturday and Sunday as usual this weekend, offering many activities. Hours and activity details vary by location, with details available at http://www.toronto.ca/museum-events.

Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.)

Fort York National Historic Site and its Visitor Centre will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, September 7, featuring tours and ongoing exhibitions. Regular admission applies.

Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.)

Spadina Museum will present afternoon tours themed on the Austin family, which made Spadina its home. Regular admission applies on September 7, Labour Day, with the museum open from noon to 5 p.m.


Markets around the Ward

CityPlace Urban Market

Relocated to an exciting new location at Spadina and Bremner, this partnership between Concord CityPlaceCityPlace Residents’ AssociationScadding Court Community Centre and my office is a great location for this exciting neighbourhood market.  The market runs every Wednesday from 11am-8pm and on Saturdays from 10am-5pm and is a great way to support local food and retail businesses.

250 Davenport Good Neighbours Food Market

Join the Good Neighbours Food Market, every Wednesday from 3-7pm, at 250 Davenport Road.  The Church of the Messiah, in partnership with residents at 250 DavenportToronto Community Housing Corporation, and Food Share host this weekly market, featuring fresh fruit and vegetables at an affordable price.  The Market takes place outside 250 Davenport during the spring and summer season, and moves indoors during the winter months.

Market 707 @ Scadding Court Community Centre

Housed in retrofitted shipping containers, Market 707 is a unique streetfood and retail market, located outside Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas Street West).  This space brings together local entrepreneurs that serve more than 10 types of international street food and offer unique goods and services, like the latest addition of a barbershop.  Hours are: Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30am-7pm in Spring and SummerTuesday to Saturday 11:30am-5pm in Fall, and vary during winter months.

Waterfront Good Food Market 

Come out to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, hot gourmet soups, delicious dinners, baked goods, and friendly faces at the Waterfront Good Food Market! Located at 25 Bishop Tutu Blvd (near Bathurst and Lakeshore), this market operates year round every Tuesday from 4:30-7pm. To be added to their email list and to receive weekly prices and market events, please email waterfrontgoodfood@gmail.com.

Bloor Borden Market

The Bloor Borden Market is a certified locally produced farmer's market located at the corner of Bloor St W and Borden St. This market happens every Wednesday from 3-7pm. Check out their Twitter account here!


Stay in touch with Trustee Malik

Sign-up to Trustee Ausma Malik's e-newsletter for regular updates from her: http://eepurl.com/9xckn


Upcoming Development Consultations

Official Plan Amendment for the John-Adelaide-Duncan-Pearl block, relating to the 283 Adelaide OMB appeal

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

452-458 Richmond Street W (pre-application)

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)

19 Duncan Street (active re-zoning application)

Date: Monday, September 21, 2015
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Metro Hall (Room 308)



Upcoming events

September 6th, 2015

OpenStreets TO (Bloor Street from Parliament to Christie, and Yonge Street from Bloor to Queen) from 9am - 1pm

Check out the return of Open Streets TO and experience what Toronto's streets are like car-free! Enjoy activity hubs and fun events planned throughout the day.

September 24th, 2015

Dupont Station Upgrades Open House (Toronto Archives - 255 Spadina Road) from 6:30 - 8:30pm

Dupont Station will be undergoing significant upgrades, including: three elevators, accessible fare gates, improved signage and CCTV security cameras. Come to the open house to see the changes planned and provide feedback.

September 27th, 2015

Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market

Join local businesses and residents in celebrating a car-free Kensington Market during the last Sunday of the month from May - October! Check out more information here.

October 2nd-3rd, 2015

St. Peter's Church Fall Fair (830 Bathurst Street)

Swing by St. Peter's Church the first weekend of October for their annual Fall Fair. There will be food, crafts, books, and fun family-friendly activities all weekend.

October 7th, 2015

Toronto Ward Boundary Review Public Meeting (Metro Hall - 55 John Street, Room 308/309) from 7 -9 pm

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review Options Report was recently released and it presents five options for restructuring ward boundaries across the city. The public meeting is your chance to hear about the proposals and offer your comments.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Saturday morning from 10am-12pm at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

Please call 416-392-4044 or email councillor_cressy@toronto.ca for an appointment.